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The Owen Stanleys are a wickedly intricate web of razorback ridges and valleys covered by

barley penetrable rainforest and kunai grass.

They rise and fall like shark's teeth up to 2500 metres and back down again.

 

 

 

 

 

The Track plays a leading role in the story of Kokoda. It has a character of its own. It is one of the world's most fascinating locations - at once an alluring, challenging obstacle of compelling beauty and yet a foreboding, perilous microcosm of life at its rawest and most savage.

It takes around ten hours of walking, climbing, clambering, slipping and skidding to travel from the township of Kokoda to the Isurava battlefield.

 

Think of it as ten hours on a StairMaster exercise machine, most of the time in a steam room. During the tropical downpours which drench the land every afternoon, walking the terrain is like climbing under a fireman's hose. The climbing is relentless, bringing searing pain to thigh muscles, but descending is far worse. It results in what the Diggers called 'laughing knees' - an uncontrollable shaking brought about by overuse of the quads in unfamiliar fashion, a condition exacerbated by constant slipping in the wet.

 

The rain in the tropics is unique. It is 'fat' rain. When you look at it through a clearing in the forest it seems to fall as constant straight lines rather than as drops. It completely changes the landscape. The ground turns to slush - heavy, cloying foul-smelling mud. As you climb, the root-strewn paths turn into slipways, then watercourses, then mini-waterfalls. The creeks rage and roar and the bigger ones transform into major obstacles.

 

When the rain eases, the heat kicks in and the humidity becomes almost unbearable - a smothering pressure-cooker. When walking through the periodic fields of kunai grass which grow taller than a man, the rising heat hits like a sledgehammer. People have been known to faint when first exposed to this merciless steambath.

 

And this is just a tiny portion of what we know as the Kokoda Track. The country around Isurava is just about as bad as it gets but there are steeper and more sustained climbs along its tortuous route.

 

 

 

Laughter, tears, pleasure, pain, exhilaration, exhaustion, appreciation, understanding, inspiration and mateship

Kokoda Track - Bloody Awesome!